Castelldefels Castle, icon and guardian of Castelldefels and one the most important monuments in the Baix Llobregat region, has been open to the general public since June 18. With considerable public investment from the Castelldefels City Council and other investors, the facility is now managed by Advanced Leisure Services. In addition to its extensive gardens and facilities, its audiovisual displays about the world of piracy will appeal to all the family. Below we set out 5 interesting facts about this very special place.
1. For several millennia a strategic location in the Baix Llobregat
Located at 60 meters above sea level, Castelldefels Castle offers spectacular views over the Llobregat Delta and the Mediterranean, while Barcelona Airport can also be seen in the distance.
Some 20 kilometers from the Catalan capital, the castle can be reached in 30 minutes by train from Barcelona Sants station or by car. It stands atop a promontory that overlooks the coastal strip between the Garraf massif and Barcelona.
The castle is built in different styles and was raised on a site that was once settled by Iberian villagers and Romans to monitor movements along the coast.
2. First restored in the late 19th century
According to the Castelldefels town council, the castle was in ruins before the first restoration in 1883. The threat of pirates had receded and there was no longer any need for a defensive fortification. In 1897, the Barcelona banker Manuel Girona bought the barony of Eramprunyà and commissioned the architect Enric Sagnier to restore the castle. Respecting the essence of the castle, the restoration involved the construction of the current ramparts and the reconstruction of the towers in accordance with strict historical criteria. Doors and windows in a late Gothic style were also set into the façade and the highest tower was rebuilt.
3. The town council buys the castle and restores the church
The Castelldefels town council bought the castle in 1988. The following year it commissioned a historical and archaeological study of the complex and a project to rehabilitate and restore the church. The work involved the reconstruction of the affected parts and the repainting of the different parts of the castle in its original colors: white for Romanesque parts and blue in the Capella de la Salut. Inside, the chancel was adapted to reveal Iberian and Roman ruins in the subsoil. The Capella de la Salut was also restored, with special attention paid to the neoclassical paintings and graffiti from the Spanish Civil War.
4. Castelldefels castle is declared a cultural asset of national interest
The Castelldefels City Council demonstrated its commitment to culture by inviting citizens to a series of Open Days at the castle. The third phase of the Castle works involved the restoration of all the interior spaces of the first floor and the roof terrace. Protective railings were placed on the terrace to enable visitors to enjoy some of the most spectacular views over the Baix Llobregat region.
The most luxurious rooms in the castle complex are the Grand Hall and the Fencing Hall, both dating from the 17th century, although they were later decorated by Manuel Girona, whose legacy includes the Coat of Arms of the Barony of Eramprunyà (the title he purchased to take ownership of the castle).
5. New cultural, educational and tourism activities
The castle houses a new interpretation center on the history of piracy, which is mainly located in the restored church and the stables on the parade ground.
An immersive experience with audiovisual projections, display panels, and interactive games informs visitors about the castle, the sea, and the Barbary pirates, sometimes called Ottoman corsairs, who were based in North Africa and carried out raids on the Mediterranean coast.
After the audiovisuals and displays that immerse visitors in the site’s history, the tour continues through the Grand Hall, the Fencing Hall, and other rooms, before culminating on the roof terrace where visitors can enjoy panoramic views of the Baix Llobregat and Garraf regions.
And one more thing! The Castelldefels City Council has entrusted the management of the castle to Advanced Leisure Services (ALS).
Visiting a venue is much more than just buying a ticket or taking a tour. Advanced Leisure Services has been committed to creating rewarding and transformative experiences for more than 15 years. The aim of the company is to generate memorable memories in all the facilities managed and to add value to cultural and tourism facilities through marketing and special events. Amongst other sites, Advanced Leisure Services manages the Colonia Güell and the Gaudí Crypt—both World Heritage Sites located in Santa Coloma de Cervelló—and they are also responsible for the management of Montjuïc Castle in Barcelona and the renovated Barcelona Wax Museum.